Celebrate Asian Culture in Phoenix at These October Events

October is a busy month throughout the Phoenix metro area, with great weather and people eager to get back outside.

Three festivals celebrating Asian cultures throughout the month will provide insight into the breadth and depth of Asian communities in the valley.

During these celebrations, participants have the chance to honor their heritage and learn about customs, foods, music and dance styles, arts and clothing.

Here’s what to know about the Otsukimi Moon Viewing Festival, the Original Arizona Asian Festival, and the Chandler Asian Festival.

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Phoenix: Otsukimi Moon Viewing Exhibit

In Japan, moon gazing is a tradition dating back to the Heian period, 794-1185, when aristocrats gathered to admire the beauty of the moon, share poetry and play music.

In honor of this tradition, the Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix will hold its annual Otsukimi Moon-Viewing Event on October 8-9. Guests can walk the lantern-lit paths at night, and the space will be decorated with large scrolls of calligraphy. Here are the highlights of the event:

  • Ken Koshio and the members of Kenzoo will be playing the taiko drum.
  • Jin Soku-shin will play the bamboo flute.
  • Participants can have their name written in calligraphy.
  • There will be ikebana flower arrangements by Ping Wei of Sogetsu Ikebana, a bamboo art installation and candle display, a kimono display by Junko Horton, and a traditional knitting display by Mika Okano.
  • A sommelier from Ozekisake will host a sake talk and tastings.

You can try okonomiyaki pancakes and oden fish cake stew. The gift shop will offer pre-packaged snacks such as JagaRico, My Pote and Karamucho chips.

Sweet treats include rolls, mochi rice cakes, and Japanese cheesecake. Ramune and Shizuoka sodas, Kimino juice and matcha, genmaicha, hojicha and jasmine teas will be on sale.

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The tea house will be decorated with a display of kimono and ikebana arrangements with pampas grass and dango. A musical performance will feature the koto, a 13-string board zither instrument, and the niko, a two-string bowed instrument. This will be a rare opportunity for guests to enter the tea house, which is usually closed to the public.

When: 5-9pm Saturday and Sunday Oct 8-9

Where: Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix, 1125 N. Third Ave.

Admission: $30, $20 for 6 to 17 year olds, additional $30 for tea room activities.

Details: 602-274-8700, https://japanesefriendshipgarden.

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Scottsdale: Arizona Original Asian Festival

Now in its 25th year, the Original Arizona Asian Festival features 19 cultural groups from across the valley. Participants can experience cultures such as Bangladeshi, Chinese, Filipino, Pacific Islander, Karen, Persian, Korean, Japanese, Laotian, Indian, Malaysian, Burmese, Indonesian, Taiwanese, Pakistani and Thai cultures. The event is presented by the Arizona Asian American Association.

The festival will feature traditional and pop music and dance performances, including taiko drumming, lion dances, classical Indian dance, and traditional Thai and Lao styles. There will be a special performance by a K-pop artist from South Korea.

Dining options include Filipino BBQ, Indian curry and naan, shaved ice, boba drinks, and Japanese cuisine.

As part of a Journey to Asia activity, guests can visit each booth and collect stamps for a chance to win prizes. A Children’s Wonderland area will feature Chinese paper-folding crafts, a STEM straw rocket making project, face painting, games, stickers and tattoos.

Other highlights include:

  • A fashion show with 100 costumes.
  • Purchase of clothing, jewelry, handicrafts, souvenirs and gifts.
  • A Da Vinci surgical robot on display, which visitors can test.
  • Korean, Chinese and Persian tea demonstrations.
  • A Chinese cultural fashion show.
  • A demonstration of the movement of qi gong and the practice of meditation.

When: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday October 22.

Where: Scottsdale Waterfront, 7025 E. Via Soleri Drive.

Admission: Free. Free parking is available at 7000 E. Via Soleri Drive.

Details: https://www.arizonaasianfestival.org.

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Chandler Asian Festival

Chandler has one of the largest Asian American communities in the Phoenix metro area. Now in its second year, the Chandler Asian Festival highlights the traditions of many Asian cultures.

The event is presented by the city’s Department of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Arizona Asian Festivals Inc. James Park of Arizona Asian Festivals Inc. said he hopes the festival will help to eliminate negative feelings towards Asians and to create unity between people of different origins.

Visitors can watch demonstrations of music, dance and martial arts. Performances include modern and traditional versions of Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Indian, Japanese and Cambodian music and dance. A performance will mix martial arts and K-pop music. The opening ceremony will feature taekwondo.

Participants can learn about Vietnamese, Japanese and Thai cultures in three “village” areas. Children will receive free battery-operated lanterns in the Vietnamese village. There will also be face painting and other activities for children.

A fashion show will feature traditional dress styles from the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and India.

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Food trucks and stalls will sell a variety of foods. A Filipino vendor will make lechon, a kind of roasted pork belly, on site.

A market will offer arts and crafts vendors and information about local resources. A stand will be dedicated to mental health education.

Raffles will benefit local veterans organizations and scholarships for high school students.

When: 12pm-10pm Saturday and Sunday 29-30 Oct.

Where: Tumbleweed Park, 2250 S. McQueen Road, Chandler.

Admission: Free.

Details: https://www.chandleraz.gov.

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